D700: The Short Review

The rumors were dead-on right this time: Nikon announced the D700 body today.

What is it?

It’s a prosumer D300 (which I usually shoot) with the full-35mm size digital sensor from the professional D3 shoved up inside it.

What’s it cost?


What’s it do?

It’s shoots a lot slower than the D3, which is built for speed. It even shoots slightly slower than the D300, unless you add on the battery grip; then they’re tied.

What’s it good for?

If you need to shoot really wide angles, or in really low light. Otherwise, save yourself $1,300 and buy a D300. The D3 and D300 are virtually identical on sharpness and color rendition, and I suspect the D700 is no different. Literally, no different. It has the sensor of the D3 and the electronic guts of the D300. All three cameras are 12 megapixels.

The verdict?

Honestly? The D700 slips into the very tiny crack between the D3 and the D300. I can see why Nikon felt they ought to build it, but I can’t see much reason to buy it. Also, with the DX-size sensor on the D300, my 70-200mm zoom effectively reaches out like a 300mm lens. Put it on a D700, and you’re back down to 200. To get the same reach (with the same fast f/2.8 aperture and vibration reduction) on the D700, I’d have to pony up an extra $4,500 for this baby.

I’ll keep saving my money for the 24 megapixel D3X next year.

UPDATE: Longer review from Ken Rockwell.